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The Schuyler system & incandescent lamps


American Electrical Directory


Electrical Review
June 26, 1886


Our readers have been pleased to note from time to time the steady progress and the rapid steps into the foremost rank of electric lighting which have been constantly referred to and described in our columns.

Owing to the rapid growth of their are lighting business, with a few instances of isolated lighting, in Philadelphia and other cities, and the addition of a few small incandescent machines for supplementing the arc lights in their numerous central stations, the Schuyler Company has heretofore made the subject of incandescent lighting necessarily one of secondary consideration.

Their electricians, however, have not been idle in this department, and the company is now prepared to furnish incandescent lights for isolated plants or for central stations.

In their new 300-light machine is shown what they claim is the most economical of the incandescent dynamos yet built. These machines are built of either 60 or 100 volts as required. They are of the same pattern as the regular arc machines of this company's make, that is to say, with the drum armature with the regular self-lubricating boxes. Their tests show that the machine possesses an efficiency of 92 percent. It has no compound wiring, but is wound with plain shunt.

Every machine is automatically self-regulating at a constant speed, and requires no outside fixtures for governing same. This regulation is so close as to govern the brilliancy of the lamps to within 5 percent, i.e. if 99 lamps out of 100 are turned out, it is claimed the brilliancy of the remaining lamp would not be increased but 5 percent.

This machine is built with the new commutator, consisting of a slate center and lignum vitae division strip between the brass segments. This renders heating of the commutator impossible, and entirely free from sparking. Consequently, the turning of the commutator is rendered very seldom necessary and the expense of a new commutator or repairs of old one almost never necessary. The bearing line will run for weeks without attention.

The standard sizes of these machines at present manufactured by the company are of 50, 100, and 300 lamps capacity; they believing that in the majority of cases these sizes are preferable for almost all purposes, but in exceptional cases where for special requirements a larger machine is rendered necessary, the company are manufacturing larger sizes.

The lamps which we also illustrate are of an elegant pear shape with a graceful filament. They are made to correspond to the requirements in different cases of 60 or 100 volts. The socket commends itself to those using the incandescent lights from the facility with which the lamps can be removed and a new lamp substituted, the lamp simply being held in place by stiff brass springs which fit into a groove extending the entire circumference of the lamp, and the connection being made in the center by means of a spring entirely unconnected with the outside brass ring holding the lamp, thus rendering the connection always certain, and one impossible to weaken with use.

The filament, the manufacture of which is a trade secret, is of a bright gray color, and is as hard as steel. It is of long life, and, owing to the careful tests and assortment in the factory, an absolute uniformity of color is produced in every lamp. The disadvantage of the discoloration of the glass, on account of the depositing of the carbon thereon, has been overcome in this new lamp. The company has adopted the standard of 20 candle power for their lamp, believing it the most convenient and satisfactory to both manufacturer and purchaser. A very high standard of efficiency has been reached in this lamp which they state is from 2-3/4 to 8 watts per candle. This mean figure is found to give a just mean between wants of power on the one hand and short life on the other. The connection between the lamp and the socket is one in which the lamp can he turned in either direction when cleaned, and produces a better contact the more it is handled.

The new multiple switch shown, in Fig. 4, is one which revolves in either direction, and cannot be twisted off, as is the case in the switches which turn in but one direction. This switch has a double break of contacts and a quick snap action. All the parts are interchangeable. The handle is insulated, consequently there can be no outside connection, and no unpleasant tingle resulting therefrom.

These lamps can be used indiscriminately on an arc circuit with distribution box, which the Schuyler Company has been introducing for some time, and which we will describe in a later issue. Suffice at present to say that this distributor is now being widely used in the central lighting stations where the company has established its arc lights. Where this distribution box is used special insulated sockets are made for additional safety.

We have only described herein the main features of the Schuyler incandescent system, inasmuch as many additional details, such as safety fuses, etc., have not such an important bearing upon the success of their system as an efficient dynamo, possessing durability in all its parts; a lamp which has a happy mean between economy and life; a socket which admits of the removing of the lamp and the replacing of the same as many times as may be necessary during the entire length of time which the system is used, without weakening or repairing any of its parts, and one which possesses the additional advantages of allowing the entire outer case to be removed without detaching any of the connections, and exposing the entire interior of the socket for examination and cleaning.

In a future issue we will, in addition to describing the distributor which the Schuyler Company have brought out, illustrate a new series lamp for burning on the arc circuit without any intervening apparatus for distribution."


The Electrician and Electrical Engineer
November, 1886


In a system in which incandescent lamps of the above description are used, it is obvious that with every lamp an additional contact resistance is introduced into the circuit, and in order to prevent loss by heating in the socket of the lamp broad contact surfaces are required. It is also of vital importance that the insertion or withdrawal of a lamp should in no way interfere with the continuity of the line. A condition strictly observed in the construction of these sockets, and plainly shown in the accompanying cuts.

In the base of each lamp are cemented two broad metal strips, separated by a thin strip of mica. These strips are connected with the terminals of the filament. In the socket itself are two slotted springs, mounted on an insulating base. These springs are included in the main circuit, and press normally against each other, thus affording a free passage to the current. The peculiar bend of these springs is shown in figure 2.

Figures 3, 4, and 5 show diagrammatically the different stages in the insertion of a lamp. In figure 3 all three parts of the springs are in connection with each other. In figure 4 the lamp is partly inserted, the upper parts making a thorough connection with the respective terminals of the lamp, whilst the lower still maintain the short circuit. A further movement separates also the latter, and allows the current to circulate through the filament. In order to lock the lamp in this position, the terminals are provided with an enlarged bend which fits into a corresponding recess in socket springs. All the metal parts are completely shielded by a fire proof and highly insulating cover, so that a personal contact with any of the conducting parts is rendered impossible."


Special Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut (excerpt)
January Session, 1887

"INCORPORATING THE SCIIUYLER ELECTRIC MANUFACTURING COMPANY Resolved by this Assembly: SECTION 1. That Charles E. Dustin, Spencer D. Schuyler, C.L. Buckingham, John Byrne, H.M. Pierson, and other stockholders in the Schuyler Electric Light Company, a corporation under the laws of the state of New York, and located in city of New York, who shall become incorporators in the company hereby created, as hereinafter provided, together with the creditors said Schuyler Electric Light Company, who shall become stockholders in the corporation hereby created in accordance with the provisions herein contained, with all others who shall hereafter become associated with them, be and they are hereby, with their successors and assigns, made and established a body politic and corporate by the name of The Schuyler Electric Manufacturing Company, with its location in the town of Hartford, state of Connecticut, for the purpose of manufacturing, buying, selling, and dealing in all kinds of machinery, appliances and apparatus adapted to the purposes of producing and distributing light, heat, or power by the use of electricity, and with power to manufacture and sell plants for furnishing electric light, heat, or power but nothing herein contained shall be held to empower said corporation to use or occupy any highway or other public ground for the purposes aforesaid; and generally to manufacture such other articles incidental to its business as it may deem for its interest; and by that name they and their successors and assigns shall be and they are hereby authorized and empowered to purchase, take hold, occupy, possess and enjoy to them, their successors, and assigns, any goods, chattels, and effects of whatever kind they may be, the better to enable it to carry on its business to advantage; also to purchase, take hold, occupy, possess, and enjoy any lands tenements or hereditaments, in the state of Connecticut or elsewhere, as shall be necessary or convenient for the purposes of said corporation, and the same or any part thereof to sell, lease, or dispose of at pleasure, or to take a lease or leases of any such lands and real estate for a term of years; also to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, defend and be defended, answer and be answered unto in any court of record or elsewhere, and said corporation may have and use a common seal, and may alter the same at its pleasure.

SEC. 2. The capital stock of said corporation shall be divided into common and preferred stock; the common stock shall be one hundred and fifty thousand dollars with the privilege of increasing the same to five hundred thousand dollars in the manner and subject to the restrictions hereinafter provided. The preferred stock shall not exceed three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The shares of said capital stock shall be one hundred dollars each, and shall be considered personal estate and be transferable only on the books of said company, in such form as the directors of said corporation shall prescribe. The said corporation shall at all times have a lien on all the stock or property of the members of said corporation invested therein for all debts due from them to said company."


Electrical Review
February 25th, 1888


The Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review
October 19th 1888

"PECULIAR BREAKAGE OF AN INCANDESCENT LAMP The illustration shows a lamp which has been brought to the notice of the Electrical World by Mr. C.G. Young, superintendent of the Mount Morris Electric Light Company, New York City. It is a series Schuyler lamp, and was used in the company's station A. It was designed to run on a current of 97 amperes, and was of 50 C.P., with a voltage of 13. It had been running about 100 or 125 hours and gave no signs of weakening, when the filament suddenly broke and the glass blew out as shown, instead of blowing in. It will be remembered that we have previously alluded to a Bernstein series lamp in which the rupture of the filament caused a blowing in of the glass, and an Edison in which it caused a blowing out and protrusions of the bulb."


The Electrical World
July 18th, 1889

"New Apparatus of the Schuyler Electric Company (excerpt)

The illustration Fig. 4 shows the Schuyler series lamp which is placed directly in the arc circuit and is intended for illuminating large interior spaces, stores, etc."


Electrical World
January 13th, 1906

"THE ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION OF NEW JERSEY-I. During 1886 two rival companies started an arc lighting business in Newark. The first was the Newark Schuyler Electric Light Company, which was started as an offshoot of the Waterhouse Electric Manufacturing Company, afterwards merged into the Schuyler Company; the second company was the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, started as a sub company to the parent concern manufacturing Thomson-Houston dynamos. The two newer companies immediately started in to secure business at any price. Competition was strenuous and at one time prices were reduced so that arc lights were supplied at $1.50 a month on yearly contracts, a rate never since equaled under any condition of power in the electric lighting business. Such ruinous low prices during a period of over six months forced both of the smaller companies out of existence, and they were subsequently bought in by the Newark Company, the Schuyler Company being taken in during September, 1889, and the Thomson Houston Company in June, 1890."


The Engineering Evolution of Electrical Apparatus
The History of the Arc Lamp (excerpt) by The Electrical Journal, Vol.12

January-December 1915

"About 1885 the Schuyler Electric Light Company of Hartford, Connecticut, brought out the Schuyler system, which enjoyed a limited life. Unlike most other generators of this time, the current in the Schuyler machine was not controlled by shifting the brushes, but by a relay operated, motor driven rheostat which controlled the field current of the generator. While this method of regulation offered many theoretical advantages, it was not certain or rapid, and necessitated a rather complicated mechanism. The Schuyler lamp was of the rack feed, twenty ampere type, very similar in general principle to competitive systems."